What is the pelvic floor?

Did you know that up to 40% of people incorrectly perform a pelvic floor contraction?

Pelvic. Floor. Muscles.

We all have them (men included).

And unfortunately, as they are out of sight, they are also out of mind for most.

Only when we suffer (a lot) do they get any attention. Or, perhaps, most do not realise that pelvic floor dysfunction could be a source of their problems. Often too much time has been spent suffering rather than working towards a solution (which is available in most cases) with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.

Pelvic floor muscles are best described as a sling or hammock. They run from the pubic bone in the front to the tailbone (coccyx) at the back.

Pelvic floor muscles have a hugely important role to play. They support pelvic organs (bowel, bladder and uterus), keep pee and poo off the floor and play a role in sexual function.

Consequences of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction include prolapse, loss of control of bowel or/and bladder function, and dyspareunia (pain on intercourse).

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION?

  • Ongoing constipation
  • Heavy lifting- gym or occupation-related
  • Chronic cough or sneezing
  • Ageing
  • Over-exercising the muscles or a history of back pain
  • Being overweight
  • Previous injury
  • Pregnancy and having babies

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles or performing Kegels may not always be the answer. Pelvic floor muscles may be tight and unable to relax OR weak and not strong enough to support.

The great thing is, although hidden, pelvic floor muscles can be consciously controlled and therefore trained!

As a physiotherapist specialising in women’s health, I use both internal and external examination methods as well as a Real-Time Ultrasound to determine if your muscles are tight, weak or just fine before prescribing a pelvic floor muscle training program. This is essential as it may be ineffective (at best) or harmful (at worst) if you are performing your pelvic floor exercises incorrectly.

HOW TO PERFORM A PELVIC FLOOR CONTRACTION?

A correct pelvic floor contraction should feel like a gentle squeeze and lift from your back passage to the front passage.

I usually cue my patients like this:

  • Bring your focus to your anus and imagine that you need to stop passing wind. And relax.
  • Now bring your focus to your front passage and imagine that you need to stop the flow of urine. And relax.
  • Now do both at the same time. And relax.
  • Now do both without holding your breath! And…relax.
  • Ensure you are not compensating by tilting your pelvis or squeezing your buttocks and inner thigh muscles.

Clear as mud?!

Women, imagine your pelvic floor is a jellyfish- opening and closing, or a booking opening and closing.

One for the other half:

Men, testicles to spectacles OR pull the turtle head in.

If you would like to know about the pelvic floor and its functions, please call/WhatsApp on 9780 7274 or get in touch over email to learn how we can work together.

You can also visit our website to learn about other women’s conditions we treat through physiotherapy and how we can help you.

 

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